Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

I was pleased to find that Christchurch Public Hospital these days is surrounded by racks crammed with bicycles.

These ones in a fenced off area belong to staff.  Lots more out in the open are presumably used by visitors and able-bodied patients.  There are continual complaints about the shortage of parking near the hospital, and current roadworks make it difficult to drop someone off nearby.  A bicycle is ideal and healthy transport for those with a clear route from home.   I haven’t used my bike lately, because my usual routes are clogged with roadworks.  Stephen dropped me off for my hospital appointment, and I walked home.   I know of others who have declined to visit family in hospital simply because it’s too difficult to get there.

“For some of those who’d dearly like
it’s just not on to ride a bike.”



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What better way to celebrate the longest night than by a bike ride round Hagley Park in the dark?  Congratulations to the people who organised the sixth annual Winter Solstice Night Light Bike Ride.  It’s the first time I’ve ridden at night, and the first time I’ve ridden in the rain (though luckily the rain stopped before the official ride started).  A friend and I braved the rush hour traffic to get to Hagley Park where we joined a crowd of several hundred.  I seemed to be the only one with a pink hi-vis vest.

Ruth on bike (Small)

Bicycles were lit up in all kinds of ways and looked great.

Another glowing bicycle (Small)

Glowing bicycle (Small)

Well-lit bicycle (Small)

Before we started prizes were handed out, and I got one for being a new cyclist.  I did wonder whether I may also have been one of the oldest cyclists there.  There were lots of youngsters with small bikes, or pillion seats.

We’d been told to cycle in single file, but started off two and three abreast, in a congested group.  This meant I needed to ride very slowly, which made me wobble.   Round the edge of the park there was some light, but it was extremely dark when we headed through the middle – no street lights there!  My new bike headlight is not full beam, and I was glad to follow the tail light of the person in front of me.  By then we were well spread out and riding was smoother.  There were marshalls at strategic points to say “sharp right here”.  In one spot I lost the path, got caught in a wooden edging, and ignominiously fell off.  Luckily it was a gentle fall and no harm done.

This ride was lots of fun, and a great way to mark the Solstice.  I hope to do it again next year.

From now on the light increases!

“What fun to ride around the park
with bikes all lit up in the dark.”

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Beginner Biking

Go Cycle is a volunteer-run initiative that aims to help more people use cycles as part of their daily transport.  People who already cycle volunteer to help new cyclists gain confidence in travelling around the city.  Today they led a 6.4km guided ride around the inner city for people like me who haven’t cycled much in recent years.

That's me on the right in my pink hi-vis vest

That’s me on the right in my pink hi-vis vest

We met at the Linwood Arts Centre, where people from Ice Cycles were holding a bicycle maintenance clinic.

ICE Cycles workshop

ICE Cycles workshop

This free service (koha appreciated) is run by volunteers, under the auspices of Te Whare Roimata.  They even offer free sandwiches and fruit.

I thoroughly enjoyed my gently-paced ride, and was escorted home by a kind volunteer.  Today I must have ridden more than 8km, the longest ride I’ve done so far.  The weather was perfect, Sunday traffic was light, and the exercise feels good.

“On days like this I really like
to go exploring on my bike.”


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Stephen bought me a bicycle lock (which cost more than the cycle did) and Glenda gave me a very cute bell.

Bicycle bell

Bicycle bell

An old basket with its handle removed serves perfectly, and I was all ready to head out.  (The photo was taken before I put on my helmet.)

Accessorised bicycle (Small)

My first trip was to deliver newsletters to the Moa community.  When one needs to go the wrong way on a one way street, e.g. Barbadoes or Salisbury, the only option is to ride on the footpath.  The road code says:  “If you are on a footpath with your cycle you should be walking with it, unless you are delivering mail.”  I was on my way to deliver newsletters, but I’m not sure that would count.  Coming back on Barbadoes I kept on the road, except where one lane is blocked off by road cones.  I was very cautious passing parked cars, remembering that a daughter once had her collarbone broken by someone opening the door of a parked car.  I’ve seen a number of people cycling on the footpath, so I’m certainly not the only one.

Later I headed down Kilmore Street, where there is a cycle lane.  This is cut off in several places, and the signs that say “Caution, cyclists merging” gain more importance when they mean me!

Peter, one of the volunteers at RAD bikes, kindly checked my cycle and pronounced it to be in good working order.

RAD Bikes Sunday afternoon session

RAD Bikes Sunday afternoon session

After visiting the library, and using my bike lock for the first time, I cycled home again.  It’s great to have this new method of transport, but I’ll probably limit my cycling to weekends until I have more experience.  Weekday traffic is a little daunting just yet.

“A basket and a bell I like
have now been added to my bike.”




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I have a bicycle!  Part of my retirement plan was to buy a secondhand bike.  I didn’t want to spend a lot on it because I’m not sure whether in fact I’ll use it.  Our badly damaged roads are a distinct disincentive, but plans for new cycleways will eventually come to fruition.

I went to Around Again Cycles, who had only a couple of women’s re-cycles, both well out of my price range (I could have bought something brand new for less).   Then I visited the Ecoshop because I’d been told they have bicycles.  They do, but their cycles are a sorry lot.  They’re stored outside, have all had their front wheels taken off, and can be sold only as bike parts.  They looked rusty and uninviting.  Disappointed I went home and had another look at TradeMe.  Last week they’d had no women’s bicycles available locally, but this time there was one, with a starting price of $1, and a ‘Buy now’ price of $20.  I asked a couple of questions, then bought it, sight unseen.  I thought if it didn’t work out $20 was not much to have spent.  We managed to stow it into the hatchback and brought it home.

New bike

New bike

I’m absolutely thrilled with my very cheap purchase.  It’s a Diamondback mountain cum commuter bike in good condition, and perfect for my purposes.  I already have a helmet (thanks, Anne).  I just need to buy a bike lock, a basket, and a bell, which will probably cost me more than the bike itself.  I gave it a good clean, and have been for a ride around the Loop.  Parts of the road there are shingle, so it’s just as well I have wide mountain bike tyres.  Riding this short distance reminded me how rarely my heart rate is raised, and that cycling will be very good for me.  I intend to visit RAD bikes, who help with maintenance, and have booked to go out with Go Cycle who offer free short rides for new cyclists.  Then there’s Frocks on Bikes. . . . .   lots of opportunities.

“I’m thrilled that I’ve now got a bike
and can go cycling when I like.”



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This week you can have a free smoothie in the Restart Mall, but you have to work for it.

Smoothie Cycle

Smoothie Cycle

The smoothie maker is pedal-powered.  Someone has to sit on the bicycle and pedal hard.  This is a fun idea, sponsored by C1 Cafe and All Good Bananas.

“Not wasted energy, I think,
when at the end you get a drink.”

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